Minutes of The Fakenham Society Annual General Meeting
Held at The Gallow, Fakenham at 7.30pm on Thursday 23rd March 2023

The Vice Chairman welcomed 44 members to the meeting noting that the relevant papers, together with an invitation to raise any queries, had been circulated earlier in the month.

1. Apologies. Noted that apologies had been received from 7 members.
2. Minutes of the last AGM. No issues were raised and the meeting confirmed that the minutes were a true record of the previous AGM (17th March 2022).

3. Minutes of the EGM. No issues were raised and the meeting confirmed that the minutes were a true record of the EGM held on 26th January 2023.

4. Matters arising. No matters had been raised beforehand and nothing was raised at the meeting itself.

5. Treasurer’s Report. It was noted that, given the change in the year end agreed at the EGM, the formal accounts covering the 22/23 season would be circulated later in the year. Meanwhile, the Treasurer’s report showed clearly how the Society’s financial position had been transformed by the successful Lottery bid.

6. Chairman’s Report. The Chairman noted that the committee situation had changed since her report was written and that, as a result, the Society could continue in 23/24. However, she emphasised that individuals covering more than one committee role was only an interim solution and she underlined the need for volunteers to come forward if the Society is to be able to continue in the longer term.

The Chairman thanked her committee for their support during the year and also added to those mentioned in her written report by thanking Jenny Brettell for her work in maintaining an up to date advertising poster in The Gallow.

7. Retirement of John Birt as President. It was noted that John would be standing down as President following the AGM. He was thanked for his extensive help and support over many years. The committee’s decision to award Honorary Life Membership to both John and Eileen was warmly welcomed by the meeting.

8. Election of officers and committee. John Birt took the chair for this item. It was noted that no objections had been raised to the proposals in the AGM papers circulated beforehand and that no additional nominations had been received. A further invitation was issued at the meeting but, in the absence of any more nominations coming forward, the members present supported the proposals and the following officers and other committee members were duly elected for 23/24:

Officers: Neville Lunness-Barnes (Chairman), Sue Parry (Vice Chairman), Annie Cooper (Treasurer) and Catherine Latter (Secretary and Membership Secretary)

Other Committee roles: Steve Brettell (Meet & Greet), Steve Fuell (Health & Safety), Sue Parry (Speaker Finder) and Neville Lunness-Barnes (Audio Visual / IT)

John emphasised that committee members covering multiple roles was not sustainable in the longer term and that, without more people stepping forward to help, the Society could well be facing the threat of closure again in 12 months’ time.

Before handing back to the Chairman John thanked her and her committee for all their work in keeping the Society going throughout the year.

9. Any other business. The incoming Chairman, Neville Lunness-Barnes, noted that the Lottery money had to be spent within a year and that, to do this effectively, more volunteers were urgently needed to help with planning a trip for members and an advertising / recruitment initiative. He also echoed the President’s comments about the need for more people to join the committee if the Society was to be sustainable beyond the 23/24 season

Neville also reported that membership had not returned to pre-pandemic levels. He emphasised that there was a pressing need to recruit more members and went on to explain that, depending on room hire and other essential costs, subscriptions for 23/24 were unlikely to be increased and that it may even be possible to adjust the subscription fee in some way to encourage existing members to introduce new members.

Sue Parry reported that the 23/24 season was already taking shape and gave some detail about the 7 talks that had already been booked.

No other business was raised and the meeting was closed by the Chairman.